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Citing Your Sources

A guide to using citation styles effectively and efficiently

About MLA 9th Edition

This guide is intended as an introduction to the Modern Language Association 9th edition style for references and citations. Be sure to consult the MLA Handbook or the MLA Style Center website for detailed standards and procedures.

As a general rule, use MLA style in literature, arts, and humanities.

Quick Guides to MLA

Works Cited: A Quick Guide from MLA Style

In-Text Citations

In-text citations are concise references in the body of your paper that point readers to the Works Cited entries for the sources you used to write your paper. When applicable, it points to the location (e.g. page number, paragraph number) in the source being cited.

Basic Parenthetical Citation Format

(Last Name Page #)

For more guidelines and examples, check out the MLA Style Center In-Text Citations Overview.

In-text citations can appear in prose or in parentheses.

(Modern Language Association ch. 6)

When does my in-text citation need a page number?

If you are quoting or paraphrasing a specific part of a source and the source includes a page number, line number, time stamp, or other indicator of the location in the source where the information can be found, then that location marker must be included.

  • Do no precede page numbers with p. or pp. in the in-text citation
  • Use the same style as the numerals in the source you are citing (whether roman or alphanumeric)

(Drabble xi-xii)

(Richards A11)

If you cite a number other than a page number in a parenthetical citation, it must be preceded with a label.

In Prose In Parenthetical Citation
chapter 2 (ch. 2)
line 110 (line 110)
scene 4 (sc. 4)
(Modern Language Association ch. 6)

Quotes/Quotations

A quotation is when you replicate another author's work or your own previously published work word-for-word.

(Modern Language Association ch. 6)

Works with multiple authors

Works Cited

The MLA Handbook does not provide strict instructions on how to format citations for specific types of sources. Instead, a universal set of general guidelines for citation and documentation that can be applied to any source type are outlined. These guidelines, have been followed in developing this guide, including the following examples.

General Guidelines for Styling Titles in MLA

  • Write titles in title-style capitalization
    • Capitalize the first word, last word, and all principal words including those that follow hyphens in compound terms
  • Introduce subtitles after title with a colon followed by a space
  • Italicize the title of long-form works, works that are self-contained and independent of other sources, as well as works that contain other works.
    • (e.g.) books, plays, films, periodicals, databases, and websites
  • Place titles in quotation marks for short-form works and works contained within a larger work.
    • (e.g.) articles, essays, chapters, poems, webpages, songs, and speeches are placed in quotation marks.

General Guidelines for Styling Works Cited

  • Give titles as they appear in the source's title page, standardizing capitalization and following above guidelines for styling titles in MLA
  • Use day-month-year style to minimize commas. Provide most specific date available.
  • Use periods after:
    • Author Element, Title of source Element, at the end of each container string, and at the end of each entry.
  • Use commas:
    • between elements within a container and between the surname and first  name of the author.

Basic Format:

Author Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. Title of Longer Work or "Title of Shorter Work." Publisher, Year. URL or DOI.

I'm citing a...

  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. "Title of the Article." Note: Include the title of a shorter work in quotation marks and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Title of the Newspaper or Publisher, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a newspaper or online publication and use headline-style capitalization.
  4. Publication date, Note: Use the formate Date Abbreviated Month Year.
  5. URL.

 

Cochrane, Emily, and Noah Weiland. "Hillary Clinton, the N.F.L., Roy Moore and Other Asides from the President." The New York Times, 16 Nov. 2018, https://nyti.ms/2zf1TPB.
Print Book
  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. Title of the Book. Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a book and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Edition Note: If there are multiple editions, use the format 1st/2nd/3rd ed.,
  4. Publisher,
  5. Publication date.

 

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. 1st ed., J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1960.
eBook
  1. Author(s). Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. Title of the Book, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a book and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Editors Note: If there is one editor, use the format edited by Last Name, First Name. If there are multiple editors, use and before the last author's name.
  4. Publisher,
  5. Publication date.
  6. Database, Note: Use italics for names of databases.
  7. URL or permalink.

 

Hughes, Langston. Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond, edited by Evelyn Louise Crawford and Mary Louise Patterson. University of California Press, 2016. EBSCOhost Academic eBook Collection, https://ezproxy.midlandstech.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=1105577&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_Cover.
  1. Author(s) of the Chapter. Note: Use the format Last Name, First Name Middle Name or Initial. If there are multiple authors, use and before the last author's name.
  2. "Title of the Chapter." Note: Include the title of a shorter work like a chapter in quotation marks and use headline-style capitalization.
  3. Title of the Book, Note: Use italics for the title of a longer work like a book and use headline-style capitalization.
  4. Editors Note: If there is one editor, use the format edited by Last Name, First Name. If there are multiple editors, use and before the last author's name.
  5. Publisher,
  6. Publication date,
  7. pp. xxx-xxx.
  8. Database, Note: Use italics for names of databases.
  9. URL or permalink.

 

Green, David. "Supporting the Academic Success of Hispanic Students." College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Andrew D. Asher and Lynda M. Duke, ALA Editions, 2011. EBSCOhost Academic eBook Collection, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/midlandstech/reader.action?docID=772268&ppg=77.
  1. Author. Note: If there is no individual author, begin the citation with "Title of the Page."
  2. "Title of Page, Section, or Document."
  3. Publisher,
  4. URL.

 

“Citing Your Sources.” Midlands Technical College Library, 2020, https://libguides.midlandstech.edu/citingsources.
  1. Artist/Creator.
  2. "Song Title"
  3. Album Name,
  4. Record Label.
  5. Release year.
  6. Source. Note: identify physical media type, digital media format, URL, or app. See examples below.

 

Entire Album

Jackson, Michael. Thriller, Epic, 2014. CD. 

Song from an Album

Snail Mail. “Thinning.” Habit, Sister Polygon Records, 2016. Vinyl EP. 

Song on a website

Beyoncé. "Pretty Hurts." Beyoncé, Parkwood Entertainment, 2013, www.beyonce.com/album/beyonce/?media_view=songs.

Song from an app

Lopez, Jennifer. "Vivir mi vida." Sony Music Latin, 2017. Spotify app.

(Modern Language Association 330)

 

Check out more examples of citing online sources from the MLA Style Center.

For information about citing images visit Finding and Using Image Resources.

Formatting Your MLA Paper

   What does the general format of an MLA paper look like?

The MLA Handbook, 9th Edition specifies conventions for formatting papers. Below is a sample paper formatted in MLA 9 style. See more sample papers at MLA Style Center.

 

How do I make a hanging indent in Word?

1. Highlight the citation in your reference list with your cursor. 

2. Right click.

3. Select Paragraph.

4. Under Indentation, select Special and Hanging.

Hanging Indent Gif

  How do I format my essay in MLA using Word?

Learn how to format a paper using Microsoft Word according to MLA style.

 

Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This guide was created by Erica Huff with excerpts from CSUDH University Library's Citation Guide used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

MLA Handbook. Ninth edition, The Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

 


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